The Oxford Union, the world-renowned British debating society which largely draws its membership from Oxford University, has invited Scott Lively to participate in a gay rights debate on Thursday, Jan. 17.
Scott Lively is described on the debate’s information page as a “US Attorney, author & campaigner” — a deceptively innocuous description for a man who has spent decades vilifying gays and trying to deprive them of their human rights.
In his book The Pink Swastika, Scott Lively blamed the Holocaust on gays. Lively has called for the criminalization of “the public advocacy of homosexuality” and is directly linked to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would make being gay punishable by death and require family and neighbors to report gays they know to the authorities or risk imprisonment themselves. Lively headlined an anti-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda in 2009, which he said was a “nuclear bomb against the gay agenda in Uganda.”
The list goes on and on.
“Coming to the UK is a privilege, not a right and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK,” said UK home secretary Theresa May in 2010 after denying entry to Zakir Naik, an Indian medical doctor who recommended the death penalty for gays and apostates, according to Wall Street Journal.
Just a few months ago the Home Office refused entry to Todd Bentley, the US-based Christian evangelist who has been criticized for “punching and kicking the sick and dying” during “healings”. According to BBC News, the Home Office took notice because “local clergy had raised concerns with his unorthodox methods”.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Mr Bentley has been excluded from the UK.”
“The government makes no apologies for refusing people access to the UK if we believe they are not conducive to the public good.
“Coming here is a privilege that we refuse to extend to those who might seek to undermine our society.”
According to Gay Star News, British LGBT rights advocates are certainly concerned that Lively has been asked to participate in the debate:
Ruth Hunt, director of public affairs at Stonewall, a UK gay rights charity told GSN: ‘By rescinding the invitation to Griffin [Nick Griffin, far right leader of the British National Party], The Oxford Union has conceded that some people should not be given a platform.
‘It is therefore perplexing that some of the finest minds in the country do not apply the same standards to someone who advocates the criminalization of gay people.’
Peter Tatchell, a UK human and LGBT rights advocate, told GSN: ‘It’s appalling that the Oxford Union is giving a platform to Scott Lively, who has fuelled such outrageous homophobic hatred.
‘His inflammatory rhetoric and lobbying has contributed to the homophobic witch-hunt in Uganda, including demands that gay people be executed.
‘He bears some responsibility for the “Kill the Gays” bill, which threatens the lives and freedoms of LGBT Ugandans and their straight allies.
‘The Oxford Union would never invite a speaker who had said similar things about black, Jewish or Muslim people. Why the double standards?’
Update (1/16): Lively is already making the false statement on his blog that “My next big event is the debate on same-sex parenting at Oxford University”. Few Americans know that Oxford UNION is just a club and is not part of Oxford UNIVERSITY, so his being invited to participate has provided him with a means to erroneously shore up his reputation with a lie that few will be able to catch.
Update (1/18): “Scott Lively, a staunch anti-gay evangelical Christian, was scheduled to speak at the debate, but was unable to attend because of an administrative oversight. …Scott Lively will speak in two weeks time at another debate on a different topic,” Pink News reports. However, Lively isn’t listed as a participant in any of the Union’s events two weeks hence. Very strange. Stay tuned.